Nostalgia is maybe the closest we can get to time travel -- and that feeling fills Zeus Comics & Collectibles in Dallas.
The 11-year-old store is home to superheroes and pop culture and will get you excited about your childhood again.
Owner Richard Neal is young at heart living some people’s dream.
“I hear that a lot. People come in ‘I want to start my own comic book shop.’ ‘I love what you do!’ “I admire that, I love comics and toys.’ It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work,” said Neal.
You can find almost anything having to do with comics or some of you favorite cartoons.
“Most people don’t realize that comic books release every Wednesday. So, every Wednesday there’s a brand new shelf of comic books for retailers to stock, and that’s Superman and Batman and Spider-Man and Hulk and Wonder Woman and all your favorite characters. All told, there is probably 80-100 different titles that come out every Wednesday,” said Neal.
Comics these days are more sophisticated then when they started.
“But now the comics themselves have evolved and they are telling very, very complex stories. Stories that you can’t really want to give to a 12-year-old because the 12-year-old is only interested in 4 p.m. television, and these comics are more like 8 p.m. television,” said Neal
Naming the store took some thought.
“The name Zeus was just kind of an 'Ah-ha.' It wasn’t, it didn’t relate to everything. I was trying to think of something the pinnacle, the top, the supreme, but I also wanted something that had the ability to be a character or an image and so Zeus kind of flowed from all of that,” said Neal.
In addition to comics, visitors can find toys and memorabilia.
“Zeus carries a broad range of comics, toys, back issues and statues. You can find things in here from Hello Kitty to Superman, [and] you can find Pez dispensers. You can find KISS dolls and action figures, you can find Godzilla, and a lot of those same characters have comic books,” said Neal.
Pop culture is a business in which time decides how much an item is worth.
“One of the things that’s quite common is that when something is popular whether it’s Scooby Doo or a Pokemon or a Star Wars, there is a cycle to which they kind of fall out of favor and into favor.” said Neal.
“What makes it worth while are the people coming in, the people that you talk to, the customer interactions. I’m selling comics that I’m excited about. I sell toys that I’m excited about and the people coming in are excited about those same things so it’s a lot of fun,” said Neal.
Neal said he highly values his regular customers, some he’s known for most of their lives.
“Zeus has been open for about 11 years now, and you start off with somebody coming in in their 20s and over the years you get to see them grow up fall in love, get married, have kids, do all of that big, long process, and so now I’m at the point where I’ve got kids that were young when they were first coming in are now asking for their first jobs, so that’s kind of terrifying to realize how old I am,” said Neal.
Neal said it’s a bond that binds.
“It’s a shared experience culturally with what adults and kids and their partners and spouses are all a part of, and it’s a great thing to be a part of,” said Neal.
Neal used to work for an oil and gas company doing administrative work. He then decided to do what he loves.
“The experience of comic books has reached 80 years, 90 years of history now. It’s spanned generations. You can find your grandparents who were into comic books. You can find your 5-year-old that is into comic books, and that’s one of the most rewarding things," said Neal.
"When I was younger, it didn’t feel like there was a world of people into comic books, but when new releases come out every Wednesday, I have a group of teachers who are coming in to pick up the comic books for the week that they are going to go read, and these are the people that are teaching our second-graders and our fifth-graders and our twelfth-graders all the way through, and if I had known that my teachers were that cool when I was younger -- I don’t know, my head would have exploded,” said Neal.
4411 Lemmon Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219